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How to build saunas

Building a sauna yourself is a an excellent method to take for those experienced in basic construction and looking to save money on hefty installation costs and manufacturer pre-cut labor. Not only is it a reward process, but with the help of our professional guidelines you will learn how to effectively build a beautiful sauna with relative ease.

All too often homeowners shy away from building a sauna out of fear of not having professional construction experience. This is not necessary. The truth is, you do not have to be an expert to build a sauna – leave that to us! With the help of our professional, fool-proof guidelines and a can-do attitude, you’ll be able to build your own sauna and experience the rewards and benefits of these luxurious amenities.

How to Build Saunas

Do you want to build yourself something like this? If your answer is yes, keep on reading…

So, Where Do You Start?

Now that you’ve properly planned your sauna and purchased the material, it’s time to put the plan in action and begin building your unit. Building a sauna doesn’t require a lot of time. Once you have the correct material, we recommend that you dedicate 24 – 36 hours of your time to spend on the building and installation process.

We have provided 8 professional, step-by-step guidelines to ensure that your sauna is constructed properly:

1. Frame The Walls

Once the plans are set, it’s time to begin installing your sauna. First, measure the dimensions for the wall base plate and mark the measurements accordingly with snap chalk lines.

Next, lay out the triangular base plate using 2×4 pressure treated wood. It is crucial to use pressure treated wood to prevent moisture issues. Cut two additional 2×4 top plates to match the dimensions of the bottom plate, and overlap the joints at the top plate.

Mark wall stud points for both top and bottom plates, and cut the appropriate number of studs to the height of your sauna. Once you’ve accomplished this, lay out the pieces in their proper location and fasten the studs and plates together using 10d galvanized nails or a pneumatic nail gun.

Now it’s time to insulate. Before you begin this process, it might be wise to lay out temporary polyurethane sheeting over the insulation to keep yourself comfortable while working with the insulation. After you’ve completed this step, you may proceed and install the insulation in the walls behind the sauna.

Administer construction adhesive to the bottom of the base plate, and drive concrete nails with a sledgehammer to fasten the framing lumber to the concrete. Stand wall number one in place, ensuring that it’s properly leveled, and use 3” drywall screws to attach the end stud to the nailer.

Lastly, in order to secure the wall sections together, nail the second top plate to the top of the wall. It’s important to be mindful of the dimensions for the sauna door while you’re fastening the three walls together.

How to Build Saunas

You need to frame ’em walls

2. Frame The Roof

To accomplish this, attach a 2×4 ledger board across the back of the interior sauna wall in order to properly support the ends of the ceiling joists. Next, lay out the ceiling joists across the top, making sure to provide a six inch overhang on both sides. For the front, use a ten inch overhang.

Cut off the ends of the rafters to create a front underside over the doorway. Be sure to measure the shortest rafter to determine the proper length of the overhang. Lastly, install 2×4 fascia framing with 16d nails.

3. Complete The Enclosure

To complete the enclosure, frame the windows (if applicable) and run the wiring for the sauna heater and interior lighting. Most sauna heaters draw power from 220 volt sources. If your sauna uses this voltage, it will need to be properly inspected before you begin using it.

4. Apply The Foil Vapor Barrier

The foil vapor barrier is an essential component to sauna installation due to its heat reflecting effect, which prevents the risk of fire. To install the foil vapor barrier, staple the foil to the wall studs (starting from the bottom). Next, overlap the seams 5 inches and extend the vapor barrier over the ceiling joists, making sure to completely cover the interior.

How to Build Saunas

The foil vapor barrier is an essential component to your sauna installation

5. Install The Interior and Exterior Coverings

First, start by installing the sauna ceiling boards. To do this, simply hold the edge of the board against the wall and nail it into the ceiling joists. Repeat with each ceiling board, utilizing the board grooves to secure the pieces together.

The wall boards are installed in the same manner as the ceiling boards. Continue installing the boards until the interior walls are complete. Before installing the outside covering, fill any gaps with fiberglass insulation to ensure that your sauna holds internal heat. Use the same method above to install the exterior covering.

Use a jigsaw to cut out the area for light switches.

6. Install The Sauna Heater

To install the sauna heater, use a drill to screw the heater support brackets to the wall at the required height (please check with the manufacturer as every heater is different). You can now place the heater within the brackets. Lastly, attach the heater guards.

How to Build Saunas

There are a lot of different sauna heater variations.

7. Install The Benches, Trim, and Windows

First, start with the benches. To install the benches, measure from the floor and mark a level line on the walls and secure the top of the bench supports with this line.

Using 3″ screws, secure the support brackets to the wall, making sure they’re level. Place both upper and lower benches on the support brackets, then install a bracket to support each end of the bench. Next, rest the bench on the cross bar and attach it with lag screws from below.

Use the pneumatic nailer to install the corner moldings. Be sure to cut the molding about ¼” longer than the required measurement, then place each end in position and snap the molding into place.

To install the windows, start by placing them into the wall openings. Use shims and a level to set them, then secure the windows with screws through the jamb and into the wall framing.

8. Install The Flooring

Flooring options vary for each sauna. Some people choose wooden floors to compliment the ambience of their sauna, while others prefer tile. Be sure to talk to the manufacturer to decide on the most suitable option for you. After you’ve installed the flooring, you can now enjoy your new sauna.

How to Build Saunas

After your work is done you can kick back and relax in your beautiful new sauna!

You could order a premade kit. Or you could get crafty and build your own hot box.

How to Build Saunas

First we roasted sausages over an open fire next to a lake. At dusk it was time for the sauna (the only Finnish word in the English dictionary). I had no clue what I was doing, so I followed the Finns. I was 18, had just graduated from high school, and had flown to Finland to visit Hanna, an exchange student who’d lived with my family in California a few years prior.

We piled into a wooden shack heated by burning wood, with way too many people naked under towels. The sweat began to drip down my face, and I could feel my entire body relaxing in the dry heat. Soon we rushed outside and bolted to the lake for a cold plunge. Then back to the heat. This was repeated for hours. And that was my official introduction to saunas. I’ve loved them ever since.

For me, saunas are most enjoyable when you’ve spent all day outside. After skiing or biking in the cold, nothing beats a hot, dry sweat. The medical benefits of saunas are disputed, but I find it’s more of a social occasion. Take a backcountry hut trip in Canada or visit an off-the-grid lodge in Big Sur, California, and you’ll be treated to the weird luxury that is sweating in a confined space with others. But can you re-create that at home? You bet. I called up a few friends who have brought the beloved Finnish tradition to their own backyards for tips on how you can do it, too.

A Kit Versus DIY

It’s considerably easier to buy a premade sauna kit than to build one from scratch. You can find kits to convert a spare room or a large closet in your house, or you can install a prefabricated, freestanding sauna in your backyard. The North American Sauna Society (yep, that’s a thing) has a good list of local sauna retailers across the U.S. and Canada. You can even buy easy-to-install options at Costco or Home Depot for as low as $1,000. Redwood Outdoors has Scandinavian-style outdoor barrel saunas (from $4,099) that can be put together in four hours, or check out the cabin and barrel sauna offerings from Almost Heaven. For something more eccentric, Sauna Stoke, run by a Canadian named Mika Sihvo whose family hails from Finland, builds custom saunas (from $11,290) on trailers so you can take them on the road.

But let’s say you want to do it yourself and create a unique, individualized sauna space. Where do you begin?

Pick a Location and a Size

You can’t just put a sauna anywhere. You need level ground and enough room to build a box about seven feet high and at least six feet wide. “I prioritized view over all else,” says Ben Christensen, who works in fly-fishing and built a sauna at his home in Bozeman, Montana. “Having it a good distance from the house is also comforting if you’re using a wood-burning stove as your heat source. It keeps the fire hazard away from the main structure.”

Plan on making the building at least four feet by six feet to fit two or three people, or bigger if you want more company. “I wanted my sauna to be a social space, so I went pretty big—it’s about 10 by 12 feet,” says Eben Mond, a ski coach in Silver Plume, Colorado, who built one in his front yard. “We maxed it out with 17 people once.”

Select Your Materials

Most people build saunas out of cedar—since it can handle moisture, it will last longer. But it’s also quite pricey. Mond went with what he had. “In Colorado, beetle kill pine is the cheapest wood you can get locally,” he says. He found some rough-cut pine and got it milled.

You’ll need to pour a concrete foundation, then frame the walls and roof—hire a builder if you need help here. The floor can be tile, concrete, or wood. The North American Sauna Society suggests building a drain for easier cleaning. For insulation, it advises using standard fiberglass and an aluminum vapor barrier along the walls and ceilings.

“Don’t skimp on insulation,” says Christensen. He used cedar siding on the outside and cedar tongue and groove on the inside. “The wood is a bit more expensive, but it smells great and is naturally rot resistant. For the other building materials, we used a lot of leftover wood from other projects, including all of the decking.”

For the wood on the interior, Christensen says to opt for 100 percent clear-grain wood—as in no knots. “When the sauna heats up, the knots in the wood get especially hot and can be a bit uncomfortable against your skin,” he says.

Check out this DIY sauna e-book ($20) for specific guidelines on building.

Add Your Own Design Elements

Mond wanted windows so he could enjoy the view: “Everyone who comes to my sauna says, ‘It’s nice to see outside.’” Use double-paned glass, he says, and keep it away from the heat source. (Mond’s windows are 24 inches from his stove.) He also added two doors—one on each side—for ample ventilation and easy access, and a spacious bench along one side of the sauna that fits eight people comfortably.

“We designed the ceiling pitch so it’s lower by the heat source and higher where we sit,” Christensen says. “That causes the warm air to circulate up toward us, and when you throw water on the hot rocks, it gives you a major blast of heat right in the face—which is a good thing.”

Having a source of cold water nearby is a good touch. “We had an old claw-foot bathtub that we set into the hillside adjacent to the sauna deck,” Christensen says. “We fill it off of a hose and use it as a little dunk tank.”

Choose a Heat Source

You can choose between wood, gas, electric, or infrared. Most sauna purists will say wood-burning is the way to go. Christensen scored an old barrel wood-burning stove from a local; Mond bought a woodstove on Craigslist. “For me it was all about the kind of vibe I wanted in the sauna,” Mond says. “I was going for the ‘we’re on a hut trip in the mountains’ feel, and that means burning wood.” It gets really hot—around 150 degrees—but it takes him hours to heat the space up, and he has to manually stoke the fire while he’s in there.

Electric and gas saunas are easier to maintain and quicker to heat but not quite as charming. Infrared heaters are the most efficient, as they heat up quickly and use considerably less electricity. Almost Heaven sells electric and wood-burning heaters designed for saunas.

Total Cost

Using repurposed materials and local wood, Mond estimates he built his sauna for around $2,000. Christensen found double-pane windows and a solid oak door at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and his build cost closer to $10,000, including hiring a contractor to help build a platform.

Once your sauna is up and running, there’s nothing left to do but crank it up, invite some friends over, and sweat it out.

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From commercial use to home saunas, Clearlight offers all the components you need to build your own custom sauna for to fit your needs. This blog will cover tips to make the building process as easy as possible, along with things to consider prior to building your own from an infrared sauna kit.

How to Build Saunas

Is a Business or Home Sauna DIY Right for Me?

Before starting your DIY journey, it is important to be realistic with yourself first. Adding an infrared sauna to your home or business is an exciting decision, but make sure the installation process isn’t biting off more than you can chew with a new project. Installing an infrared sauna is typically done in one of three ways:

  1. Ground-Up: User builds a new infrared sauna out of lumber and tools by following blueprints or creating a new DIY sauna plan from scratch. This method can be extremely time-consuming and requires meticulous attention to detail. While it is the most hands-on method, it does allow for high levels of customization and a sense of pride in the end.
  2. Custom Infrared Sauna Kits: Designing your own sauna with custom infrared sauna kits is the happy medium between the ground-up and base model options. These kits can be modeled to fit your space perfectly and are easily installed. By using DIY infrared sauna kits like these, you get to design many aspects and still put your building skills to work, but with less pressure.
  3. Base Model: User purchases a base model sauna that is easy to install, but with lower customization opportunities. For those wanting a more hands-off approach to adding a sauna to their home or business, this route is ideal for high-quality results with less effort.

Sauna DIY Kit Considerations

If you’ve read the above and have decided that a DIY infrared sauna is right for you, great! After the first step of deciding which sauna installation is right for you, there are a few more steps in building the sauna of your dreams. When building your own sauna, you must consider these four components: type of sauna, size, wood type, and accessories.

Type of Sauna

There are two main types of sauna, traditional and infrared. Traditional saunas use high heat and steam to create the hot environment. Using this system requires more maintenance in the long run, as the wet-dry system has more opportunity for wear and bacteria collection if not cleaned properly.

Infrared saunas, on the other hand, use radiant heaters to warm the interior. These infrared systems require less energy to heat and penetrate the body, which makes the experience more comfortable and lowers your electric bill. There are plenty of infrared sauna benefits that are more pronounced than when using a traditional sauna.

How to Build Saunas

Sauna Size

Once you’ve decided on which type of sauna to build, it’s time to decide which size is best for your needs. Consider the number of people who will be using the sauna at a time, how big of an area your space allows, and if the sauna will be used for any activities such as hot yoga.

For personal use, 1-2 person saunas may be ideal to save space and energy. Larger families and businesses will benefit from the space of a 4-5 person sauna models. Custom saunas typically range between 25 and 80 square feet, but can be designed to fit a much larger capacity. We recommend a sauna ceiling no higher than 7 feet to keep heat close to the occupants.

Wood Type

Now that you’ve decided how big to build your sauna, the next necessary step is choosing the type of wood to use in construction. The type of wood you choose makes a considerable impact on the construction of your custom sauna. Avoid woods that get too hot to the touch, contain high levels of sap, and are easily damaged by heat or water.

Instead, choose woods that are soft, resilient, and are visually appealing. Basswood, birch, and spruce are the three most popular woods for building a DIY infrared sauna for your home or business.

Accessories & Amenities

Finally, the last decision to make when building a custom sauna is the fun part: choosing your accessories and amenities! While this step doesn’t require building, it is an exciting part of customization. The sauna health benefits in its base form are wonderful, but why not kick it up a notch with some upgrades for the ultimate personal sanctuary?

Building a sauna from scratch may make it more difficult to add in extra amenities. However, DIY infrared sauna kits allow you to include a range of accessories already built in. Some of these upgrades include halotherapy generators, chromotherapy lights, digital keypads with smartphone control, and audio sound systems.

How to Build Saunas

How to Build a Sauna

You’ve made all your decisions for your perfect custom sauna, and now it’s time to build it! Depending on if you decide to build from scratch or build from a DIY infrared sauna kit, your process will be slightly different.

Building from Scratch

When building from scratch, your building process will start with collecting the measurements of your space and gathering materials such as lumber, tools, and hardware. Cutting your lumber to the precise measurements of your space is imperative, as an improper fit will result in a poorly-functioning sauna that may not retain heat.

There are plenty of online tutorials and blueprints to help you plan the design and construction process. If you are feeling unsure, cross referencing a few plans can give you more clarity on which techniques work best.

Building from Infrared Sauna Kits

Using an infrared sauna DIY kit, the building process is much easier. The initial steps include simply filling out a form with your specifications and ordering a kit. The prefabricated kits come with all the materials necessary to assemble your sauna, and simply mount to the wall and most plug in to a standard 110V/220V outlet.

No matter how you decide to add an infrared sauna to your home or business, it is a wise decision to make! Building from scratch, building from a kit, or ordering a base model will all give you a product that is sure to create a sanctuary that will keep you happy and healthy for years to come.

How to Build a Good Sauna

Pre-Sauna Construction Planning

Sauna manufacturers provide good instructions about how the sauna package shall be installed, and what is required from the set-up, space, frame, insulation etc.

But as also explained in “How and Where to Buy a Sauna” section, it is very important to plan for the location, size, shape and access as early as possible. This pre-sauna construction planning step is unfortunately often neglected, making less desirable the usability of the sauna and the overall comfort level of the sauna. Not all architects understand the nature and the basic physics of the sauna room, either. So, it is strongly recommended that a sauna manufacturer or dealer will be contacted in the initial design phase of the house, addition, upgrade or e.g. basement finishing project.

Insulation of the sauna room is important, with the ceiling being the most critical location to insulate well. Regular fiber-glass insulation plus an aluminum foil vapor barrier should be used.
Electric heaters should be sized according to the size of the sauna. All UL-listed heaters have specific size ranges within which they safely operate. Heater kilowatt sizes typically range between 1.5 kW and 15 kW, and the respective breaker size varies between 15 and 60 Amps. Always read heater instructions and use a licensed electrician for wiring. As part of your pre-construction planning process, it is advisable to have an electrician verify your breaker panel has enough power is available.

Use only UL listed heaters!

Temperature

The UL Safety Standard (UL 875) requires the maximum sauna temperature in the US not to exceed 195 F. All the UL listed heaters or sauna units follow this requirement. Higher temperatures are possible to reach saunas equipped with wood-burning stoves, but it is advised to not to exceed this temperature level regardless what type of heater is used.

Where to Build

Three primary factors usually determine the location of a home sauna: physical space available, proximity to a shower (existing shower or new shower as part of the sauna suite plans), and proximity to a cooling off area. (Please also check the “design guidelines” page). The most typical set-up for a sauna in the US is in connection to a home gym, typically in the basement (if such exists). Another popular and convenient location is a master bath suite, space permitting. Other possible set-ups would be in the garage, in a converted spare bedroom, in a finished or unfinished basement without a gym. With America’s fast growing interest in backyard living, outdoor saunas are becoming more and more popular—near a pool, on the pool deck, on a patio, or simply nestled somewhere in the backyard landscape plan.

Free-standing saunas can be located in almost any space. However, what follows below about the basics applies them, too.

Basic Requirements

A sauna needs a space which is preferably 7 feet high, has a smooth and level (unless drainage is used) waterproof floor. The floor can be tile, concrete or vinyl (not carpet!). To best utilize the space, and to get a balanced temperature level, the shape of the sauna room should be close to a square, or e.g. 6:4 ratio between the wall lengths. The best location for the door (swings out!) is on a longer wall. If space allows most sauna users like to have the option of lying down in the sauna. A 6’ wide sauna, or greater, is recommended for lying down. Sauna designs typically maximize the upper bench length by putting the main upper bench along the longest wall. Manufacturer’s websites nicely illustrate many of the most common sauna layouts and all offer free CAD design assistance.
Basic Requirements continued
The sauna room needs ventilation; incoming and outgoing. Good ventilation is one of the most commonly over-looked sauna design features. A good ventilation system insures adequate amounts of fresh air in the sauna—which in turn makes the sauna feel much more open, much more comfortable and helps users avoid the sense of light-headedness.
Though there are several ventilation options, the most common guidelines advise for the air inlet (typically about 4” x 6”) to be located near floor level on the heater wall (often just below a wall-mounted heater), and the outlet on the opposite wall just below the upper bench.

What is the Right Size for a Sauna

If you have a choice, don’t make it too small. A good size for an average two or three person sauna is from 4’ x 6’ to 5’ x 7’. Depending on the number of users and the set-up, the sizes can go up to 12’ x 12’, while also one-person 3’ x 3’ saunas still work. Public saunas are usually at least 100 square feet in size.

What Else?

A shower should be located nearby, if not even in the same specific area (master bath suite). Access to outside of the house (back yard, porch, balcony…) is a good plus, as well as a window. Glass doors and inside window panels give natural light and prevent any claustrophobic feelings inside the sauna. A drain inside the sauna room allows a more freely use of water, and makes cleaning of the sauna easier.

From commercial use to home saunas, Clearlight offers all the components you need to build your own custom sauna for to fit your needs. This blog will cover tips to make the building process as easy as possible, along with things to consider prior to building your own from an infrared sauna kit.

How to Build Saunas

Is a Business or Home Sauna DIY Right for Me?

Before starting your DIY journey, it is important to be realistic with yourself first. Adding an infrared sauna to your home or business is an exciting decision, but make sure the installation process isn’t biting off more than you can chew with a new project. Installing an infrared sauna is typically done in one of three ways:

  1. Ground-Up: User builds a new infrared sauna out of lumber and tools by following blueprints or creating a new DIY sauna plan from scratch. This method can be extremely time-consuming and requires meticulous attention to detail. While it is the most hands-on method, it does allow for high levels of customization and a sense of pride in the end.
  2. Custom Infrared Sauna Kits: Designing your own sauna with custom infrared sauna kits is the happy medium between the ground-up and base model options. These kits can be modeled to fit your space perfectly and are easily installed. By using DIY infrared sauna kits like these, you get to design many aspects and still put your building skills to work, but with less pressure.
  3. Base Model: User purchases a base model sauna that is easy to install, but with lower customization opportunities. For those wanting a more hands-off approach to adding a sauna to their home or business, this route is ideal for high-quality results with less effort.

Sauna DIY Kit Considerations

If you’ve read the above and have decided that a DIY infrared sauna is right for you, great! After the first step of deciding which sauna installation is right for you, there are a few more steps in building the sauna of your dreams. When building your own sauna, you must consider these four components: type of sauna, size, wood type, and accessories.

Type of Sauna

There are two main types of sauna, traditional and infrared. Traditional saunas use high heat and steam to create the hot environment. Using this system requires more maintenance in the long run, as the wet-dry system has more opportunity for wear and bacteria collection if not cleaned properly.

Infrared saunas, on the other hand, use radiant heaters to warm the interior. These infrared systems require less energy to heat and penetrate the body, which makes the experience more comfortable and lowers your electric bill. There are plenty of infrared sauna benefits that are more pronounced than when using a traditional sauna.

How to Build Saunas

Sauna Size

Once you’ve decided on which type of sauna to build, it’s time to decide which size is best for your needs. Consider the number of people who will be using the sauna at a time, how big of an area your space allows, and if the sauna will be used for any activities such as hot yoga.

For personal use, 1-2 person saunas may be ideal to save space and energy. Larger families and businesses will benefit from the space of a 4-5 person sauna models. Custom saunas typically range between 25 and 80 square feet, but can be designed to fit a much larger capacity. We recommend a sauna ceiling no higher than 7 feet to keep heat close to the occupants.

Wood Type

Now that you’ve decided how big to build your sauna, the next necessary step is choosing the type of wood to use in construction. The type of wood you choose makes a considerable impact on the construction of your custom sauna. Avoid woods that get too hot to the touch, contain high levels of sap, and are easily damaged by heat or water.

Instead, choose woods that are soft, resilient, and are visually appealing. Basswood, birch, and spruce are the three most popular woods for building a DIY infrared sauna for your home or business.

Accessories & Amenities

Finally, the last decision to make when building a custom sauna is the fun part: choosing your accessories and amenities! While this step doesn’t require building, it is an exciting part of customization. The sauna health benefits in its base form are wonderful, but why not kick it up a notch with some upgrades for the ultimate personal sanctuary?

Building a sauna from scratch may make it more difficult to add in extra amenities. However, DIY infrared sauna kits allow you to include a range of accessories already built in. Some of these upgrades include halotherapy generators, chromotherapy lights, digital keypads with smartphone control, and audio sound systems.

How to Build Saunas

How to Build a Sauna

You’ve made all your decisions for your perfect custom sauna, and now it’s time to build it! Depending on if you decide to build from scratch or build from a DIY infrared sauna kit, your process will be slightly different.

Building from Scratch

When building from scratch, your building process will start with collecting the measurements of your space and gathering materials such as lumber, tools, and hardware. Cutting your lumber to the precise measurements of your space is imperative, as an improper fit will result in a poorly-functioning sauna that may not retain heat.

There are plenty of online tutorials and blueprints to help you plan the design and construction process. If you are feeling unsure, cross referencing a few plans can give you more clarity on which techniques work best.

Building from Infrared Sauna Kits

Using an infrared sauna DIY kit, the building process is much easier. The initial steps include simply filling out a form with your specifications and ordering a kit. The prefabricated kits come with all the materials necessary to assemble your sauna, and simply mount to the wall and most plug in to a standard 110V/220V outlet.

No matter how you decide to add an infrared sauna to your home or business, it is a wise decision to make! Building from scratch, building from a kit, or ordering a base model will all give you a product that is sure to create a sanctuary that will keep you happy and healthy for years to come.

Adding a sauna to your home can be incredibly beneficial for you and your family. The overall sauna health benefits – long recognized by cultures around the world, can deliver a therapeutic and relaxing way to sweat out the stresses of the world. However, are you knowledgeable in how to build a sauna?

Think long and hard about the pros and cons, if you’re considering building your own sauna as you really need to sweat the details! Ask yourself: Should you buy a pre-assembled sauna? Is a pre-fab kit the way to go? What about a custom builder? Or, should you attempt to build your own sauna to save money? There is no simple or quick answer, but let’s take a look at what to consider before getting started.

To Build or to Buy or Sauna?

Are you a confident builder?

If you’re considering building your own sauna, you can attempt the project by purchasing the lumber and general building materials, or you can opt for one of the better pre-fabricated kits on the market today. If you have a good understanding of common building practices, have access to a range of hand and power tools, and are confident creating something from scratch, you can give it a shot.

If you’re like most of us however, you would be better off buy a sauna kit.

How to Build Saunas

You might be able to save some money by following a set of blueprints and using your own materials and tools, but building a sauna from basic lumber is quite a bit harder than crafting a bookcase or other simple piece. You’ll be working with expensive pieces of cedar, and any mistakes can be costly. If you’re not 100% confident in your building skills, elect a kit – with instructions on how to build your sauna – instead of building from scratch.

What size do you need?

Average custom home saunas measure between 25 and 80 square feet, though some can go significantly bigger if designed for a high number of occupants. If most of your sessions will be solo or with just one other person, try to keep the sauna on the compact side with a one person sauna or two person sauna.

How to Build Saunas

You don’t want a lot of wasted space, as you’re going to spend money heating the entire sauna each time. You’ll also want to be conscious of the height of the unit, since heat lofts up to the ceiling and you don’t want it sitting higher than the occupants. We generally recommend a maximum ceiling height of 7 feet.

In terms of building versus buying, you certainly do have more control over the specific size of the sauna if you build it yourself. That said, there are a wide range of kits available today that can be adapted to an existing space with ease. Most sauna kits are pre-tested, run for a specific amount of time to ensure proper functionality of the unit, and then disassembled for easy shipping. Better kits require nothing more than an allen wrench and screwdriver to assemble. You can also order custom-sized sauna kits that are designed to work within an existing space – using your particular room dimensions. This option enables you to personalize your sauna to your home or commercial facility.

What sauna style are you considering?

While traditional saunas use large amounts of heat and steam to create the sweat-inducing environment within, modern saunas tend to favor an infrared heating system. These radiant heat units are considered superior to standard saunas for three main reasons. First, they offer more therapeutic benefits than a traditional sauna, they are more comfortable to use as they run at lower temperatures, and they are dry saunas so they don’t have the bacteria and upkeep issues related to using water and steam.

How to Build Saunas

If you are considering building your own sauna, an infrared sauna is the preferred choice because it is generally easier to install than a wet-dry sauna system and uses about 1/3 of the energy as compared to a traditional sauna. Infrared heaters simply mount to the wall of the sauna and most plug into a standard 110V/220V outlet.

The better kits on the market today include the wood panels and interior fitments, infrared heating unit, digital keypad (some with a smartphone app controller!) and the power supply, making it easy to get started.

Once assembled, you’re ready to experience a host of important health benefits. Infrared saunas:

  • Helps to create a stronger immune system
  • Assist dieters to more easily lose weight
  • Flush toxins from the body through sweating
  • Make your hair look incredible
  • Keep muscles and joints loose to aid recovery from workouts
  • Keep the skin looking great

Adding a sauna to your home or business isn’t difficult and with the availability of numerous kits on the market today, you’re bound to find the perfect model for your unique needs. By contacting Clearlight Saunas®, you can speak with sauna experts and learn how to build a sauna using a pre-fabricated kit, perfect for transforming your home into a therapeutic spa in no time!

Thanks to sauna kits, you can easily build saunas in your own home with just a few tools and almost no carpentry skills. You can easily build saunas in your home using a sauna kit in just a few steps:

  1. Select the type of sauna you wish to own. There are sauna kits that allow you to build saunas outdoors or indoors. You can also build a number of sauna styles. Whether you are looking to add barrel saunas, wood burning saunas, electric heat saunas, steam saunas, indoor room saunas, or other saunas to your home, there are kits which easily allow you to build saunas.
  2. Select a reliable company that can help your build saunas. Ideally, you will want to purchase your sauna kit through a company that offers reliable customers service and real quality. That way, you can be sure that you will get a quality result and all the customer support you need to build your sauna. Northern Lights Cedar Saunas is a company that has been trusted by many customers looking to build saunas. That’s because Northern Lights Cedar saunas is a sauna expert, not just another store selling all sorts of home renovation products. The expertise in saunas ensures that you will get the help and information you need to put together a sauna that will bring you joy for years to come. Many customers have already been able to build saunas using the kits from Northern Lights Cedar Saunas. You can, as well.
  3. Order your sauna kits. Customers who want to build saunas need to order their sauna kits to be delivered to their homes. These kits will contain everything you need to build saunas in your home. At this point, you may be amazed to learn how much money you can save by assembling your sauna yourself.
  4. Assemble. If you have ordered a sauna kit from Northern Lights Cedar Sauna, you will enjoy clear directions and instructions that will allow you to easily and quickly assemble your sauna so that you can start enjoying your new purchase right away!

You will be astonished to know that you have to invest around $2000 for a home infrared sauna. However, if you are unable to spend this amount, it doesn’t mean you can’t get the incredible health advantages of the great infrared therapy. If you search for a way through which the investment of your personal infrared sauna can be reduced to $100 or less, then you have landed a right place. You can easily build your own sauna with the minimum investment of $100 by a simple procedure.

How much space is required?

How to Build SaunasFor making a person infrared home sauna, you will need a small room of the size of 5′ x 5′, where two stand-alone infrared heaters can be easily installed. Alternatively, you can also arrange a permanent cabinet or enclosure. Even a smaller space can also be used to design an infrared sauna. In this way, it can be heated up quickly with a less expense. You can also make use of an empty and sufficiently big closet in this regard. Some people also construct a small tent-like structure.

You have to remember that the sauna space must not be constructed with any type of flammable material and it is very important to keep those items away from that particular area. Don’t make use of knotty pine that can release unwanted sap or from those inexpensive panelings with glues that would surely release toxins after get heated. To know about the diy wood fired hot tub , you can search the internet.

In a nutshell, you will need some simple items to build your own infrared home sauna.

Three or four heat bulbs of 250-watt power

You have to purchase infrared heat bulbs from a hardware store or order from online stores. You can also build 2 person infrared sauna by following an appropriate procedure.

Properly Rated Clamp Lamps

Next, the arrangement of your infrared home sauna will require something to operate the bulbs in a secured way without the hazards of fire. For each and every heat bulb, a clamp lamp (300 watts) would be required. You should search for Clamp Lamps that hold the feature of Porcelain Ceramic Socket. The top-class Clamp Lamps is featured with a porcelain socket with heat resistance feature and 300-Watt incandescent bulb.

A Simple Wire Rack

You will also require a place for clamping the lamps. A shelf or wire rack can serve your purpose greatly. In case of not having one, you can purchase a simple wire rack (featured with 2-3 shelves) for clamping the lamps at an appropriate height for having larger area coverage on your body.

An Extra Heater

To provide you assistance with the sweating process, you might have a requirement of an extra heater, however, it will be dependent on your home sauna size. The heater should be capable of running at 750 watts or less to avoid the situation of tripping circuits. Another worth noting point is the heater mustn’t emit excessive EMF (electromagnetic radiation).

A Thermometer

You will mandatorily require a thermometer in order to track the temperature inside your infrared home sauna.

Congratulations! Your home infrared sauna is completely ready. However, you have to remember some safety warnings before utilizing it.

First, you have to ensure that you are physically eligible to utilize a sauna. A consultation with a doctor is a must.

Whenever the heat lamps will be turned on, don’t ever look at them directly. You must use safety goggles every time you go into it.

In case you are preparing a near infrared sauna in the bathroom, then you need to make use of a power strip that is able to trip a circuit and turn off it whenever the sauna is not getting utilized. Electricity should not touch the water in any manner.

Utilization Procedure of Your DIY Near Infrared Sauna at Home

Prior to going to the respective sauna space, the temperature should get up to about 100 degrees through the utilization of the infrared bulbs as well as the heater. You could safely stand up to 120-130 degrees of temperatures.

You will experience a good sweat of the duration of 20-30 minutes before the temperature touches 120. Although an infrared sauna doesn’t provide a hot feeling like a dry sauna, however, you will experience much sweating.

To know about the wood burning hot tub , you can consult an expert.

Some Important Points

A dry sauna and an infrared sauna are different. If you want to completely absorb the healing infrared rays, then you must sit or stand straightforwardly in front of the system. The heat lamps will project their infrared rays just like a spotlight. The infrared rays won’t boomerang from the opposite wall and hit your body because the rays will be absorbed in the wall. You have to maintain a safe distance of 12 – 24 inches from the near infrared lamps. You could also easily build two person saunas .

The lamps can heat your head or brain (sensitive to temperature alterations), that’s why you have to keep a safe distance. You can know about dynamic saunas by consulting a professional in this field.

If you start feeling any type of uneasiness or in case the heat is very much strong on your skin, you must shift further until you start feeling comfortable and relaxing. The heat should be gentle on your skin.

You can use a home infrared sauna almost every time or a few times a week (at the minimum) and experience an amazing relief in your pains, accompanied by the detoxing advantages.

You have to utilize your common sense in times of building your home infrared sauna in your bathroom. Electricity must be kept away from showers and sinks. The minerals have to be replaced that are released during the sweating process. It will be better if a learned practitioner is involved with this process.

It is very important to drink lots of water prior to and following the utilization of the infrared sauna.

Get relaxed for a couple of minutes following each session.

Most of us know that EMF radiation can be very dangerous for our body and its over-exposure can even develop cancer. However, the good news is that a DIY infrared sauna doesn’t emit EMF. If you maintain a safe distance, then almost zero EMF radiation will be there.

Now, you are well-informed about the procedure of making your own infrared sauna. From now onwards, you don’t have to invest a huge amount to get the benefits of an infrared sauna, as with the above-mentioned procedure, you can simply design it with a small investment. It is also easy to build 2 person saunas .

Come winter, many might wonder how to build a sauna at home. Because who really wants to brave the cold to share a sauna with strangers at the gym when you could sweat it out within the comfort of your own home?

Research shows that sitting in steamy high temps of 158–212 degrees Fahrenheit can improve the health of your heart, open your pores, manage your asthma, and even possibly lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Saunas are good for body and mind!

There’s also the obvious: Saunas “are fun and make you feel excellent afterward,” says Eero Kilpi, founder and president of the North American Sauna Society.

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Warming to the idea of a sauna at home? Here’s what to know.

Where to put a sauna

According to Nils Shenholm, founder and principal of Solhem Sauna in Duxbury, VT, there are two types of saunas to choose from: traditional (a stand-alone structure outside your home) and modern (a sauna that’s situated inside your house).

How to Build Saunas
Photo by Nordic Sauna
“Freestanding is common in Finland and other parts of the world where saunas have been around for 2,000 years,” Shenholm explains. “It’s more authentic, provides a closer link to nature, and is uncommon enough in the U.S. to make it really worthwhile.”

That said, “the indoor sauna is more convenient to use, and perhaps more family-friendly.”

How much space do you need for a sauna?

Ideally, “the size of the room should accommodate the most common pattern of use,” says Shenholm. For instance, have five people in your family who’ll chill in your sauna? The structure you build should accommodate them all.

Aim for a square room about 6-foot-6 on a side, with a ceiling height of 7 feet.

“A room with a higher ceiling will be more difficult to heat and less efficient,” Shenholm says.

And if you value authenticity, consider a window. “Having a connection to nature is important,” says Shenholm. “People are often concerned that a window will cause too much heat loss or fog up, but in Finland, they don’t build saunas without windows.”

Are steam saunas and infrared saunas the same?

While infrared saunas are a hot trend that comes Goop-approved, the answer is no.

An infrared sauna uses special lights, rather than steamy hot air, as heat. While both types of sauna will make you work up a sweat, infrared saunas’ claim to remove more “20 percent more toxins” through its dry heat is dubious at best.

Can you build your own sauna?

That depends. If you have the DIY gene, you could be the one to turn an existing outdoor shed or unused closet in your house into a sauna. Some companies, such as Finlandia Sauna, manufacture kits that can be customized for any size. Still sound intimidating? Then consider hiring a dedicated sauna builder to get it done (more on that next).

How much does a sauna cost?

The national average cost of hiring someone to build a sauna that seats four: $4,500. That may sound like a lot, but there’s a lot more involved in building a sauna than nailing up some cedar and installing a wood stove.

A sauna includes the following elements:

Flooring: “A wood floor isn’t sufficient because it will absorb moisture and odor,” Marilyn Tarkiainen, vice president of Finlandia Sauna, explains. Instead, you’ll need concrete, ceramic tile, or high-quality vinyl. (Don’t forget a drain, since you’ll likely use water in your sauna.)

Insulation: “The walls and ceiling of your sauna must be insulated to prevent heat loss so the heat stays in the room,” says Tarkiainen.

Foil-vapor barrier: This heavy-duty material, which looks like hard-core aluminum foil, keeps moisture from seeping inside your walls.

Tongue-and-groove wooden panels: These get nailed over your walls and ceiling. Western red cedar’s a popular choice, Tarkiainen says. Alaskan yellow cedar and redwood are also current favorites, but any softwood that doesn’t bear a pitch—that is, have resin or sap—will work.

Heater: To create rich heat and humidity, a wood-burning heater’s the traditional option. But “they may not be allowed within some city limits,” says Tarkiainen. (Also, some people view them as a safety hazard.)

An electric heater’s all about convenience.

“You set the control for the desired time and temperature, and the heater does the rest,” Shenholm says.

Everything else: You’ll need a door, obviously. (And for safety, you may want one with a glass panel.) Don’t forget at least two levels of benches so you and another person can comfortably lay back and relax, plus lighting and ventilation, since the air inside your sauna will need to circulate out (just not so quickly that you lose all your heat).

And after your sauna’s built and you’re chilling in it, “if you don’t get the runner’s high and your skin doesn’t feel fantastic and you don’t sleep superwell, you must be doing something wrong,” says Kilpi.

As the Finnish proverb says, “If liquor, tar, and sauna don’t help . it’s fatal.”

Saunas are synonymous with relaxation and good health. Popularized by the Finnish, saunas can be seen everywhere. You can also build a Finnish sauna at home, so that whenever you feel like using a sauna, you can do it at the comfort of your house.

Saunas are synonymous with relaxation and good health. Popularized by the Finnish, saunas can be seen everywhere. You can also build a Finnish sauna at home, so that whenever you feel like using a sauna, you can do it at the comfort of your house.

According to the Finnish, nothing comes before good health, which is usually attributed to the saunas, that can be found in almost every home, gym and workplace. A sauna can be built anywhere, be it indoors or outdoors. If you are keen on the outdoor Finnish sauna plans, then you can build it as a freestanding structure, or convert an outdoor shed into a sauna.

The authentic Finnish sauna is the one which is built near a body of water, say a lake or a river. There are different types of saunas, which use materials like wood, stones and even electricity to produce heat. The traditional Finnish sauna plan implements the use of wood to generate heat. However it is not always possible to go hunting for a water body and build a Finnish sauna. So saunas can be built in your backyard, or you may even convert a room in your house.

Instructions for Building a Finnish Sauna

Would you like to write for us? Well, we’re looking for good writers who want to spread the word. Get in touch with us and we’ll talk.

It is not exactly a Herculean task to build your own sauna. With a few basic carpentry skills, you can chalk out an outdoor or home Finnish sauna plan, and build it according to your comfort and requirement. The sauna can be built using materials like wood or tiles. If you are not so keen in building a Finnish sauna from scratch, then you can avail sauna kits. These do-it-yourself sauna kits can be purchased from hardware stores and even online and are quite affordable.

  • Before building the sauna, choose an appropriate place for the sweat house. You can find instructions on constructing a sauna on the Internet. The sauna kit may also contain an instructions manual, regarding the method of assembling the parts.
  • Create the frame of the sauna on all the sides of the ceiling. The wooden frame should be measured as 2 x 4 on all sides and should be shaped as a square. The walls should be covered with the siding, and the base should also be covered with 2 x 4 wooden planks. Treating the wood before installation will help protect it from getting damaged due to moisture.
  • The walls should be insulated using fiberglass. Make sure that all the corners are covered, so that the vapor does not escape. You can also install a vapor barrier in the wall, which prevents the accumulation of moisture inside the walls, which may lead to the spoiling of wood.
  • The floor can be made of linoleum or tiles, which should be waterproof. Before laying the floor, take appropriate measurements so that you don’t cut out extra linoleum. Secure the ends of the linoleum to the floor, so that it does not roll over.
  • After creating a frame for the sauna, the next step is insulation. The insulation must be heat and fire resistant to avoid accidents. You can install a sauna gas heater or a stove where wood or coal can be burnt to emanate heat. In case, you are planning to insulate the sauna with a stove, build a chimney as an outlet for smoke. For the gas heater, get in touch with a licensed contractor, who will guide on the heater installation. Electric heaters can also be installed, to insulate the sauna. However, take proper precautions while working with electricity.

Take care while assembling the ready-made sauna kit in terms of lighting and adding the heat elements, so that you have no problems. If you require any special permits for the building, specially for the outdoor sauna, obtain it from the local authorities. Once you are done you can enjoy this luxurious (or a necessity, according to the Finnish) addition.

Building a Sauna Room

How to Build Saunas

Plans
A genuine Finnish sauna rooms is relatively inexpensive, and it can be built to fit any space or surrounding. The size depends on the number of people likely to use it at the same time.

Benches
The top bench should be at least 20” wide and 36” from the floor. Benches are
placed on wall supports and legs if needed. 2” x 4” cedar with 1/2” space
between the boards is recommended. The cubic footage of sauna rooms is
very important in determining the capacity of the heating unit.

Ventilation
Ventilation in a sauna room is extremely important to achieve the utmost in satisfaction and pleasure. It will also speed up the reheating of the sauna rooms.

Lack of fresh air due to insufficient ventilation or poor management of ventilation can create an uncomfortable feeling. This often results in the symptoms of difficulty in breathing or burning of the skin.

The expanded hot air in the sauna contains proportionately less oxygen than the denser atmosphere outside. Bathers sometimes experience faintness unless the air is changed regularly. An amount of fresh air enters each time the door is opened; this is insufficient, however. Normally two ventilators are built into the walls.

The diagram shows the proper location of the vent openings. The inlet should be
located below the heating unit (or close to it) and the outlet is located on the opposite side, on the ceiling or just below the ceiling.

Recommended ventilation openings are 4” to 6” diameter, depending on the size
of the sauna rooms.

Planning your room size:
Within reason, try to keep your room smaller rather than larger. After allowing for the depth of each bench, (typically 19″ each) you should then plan on space for your heater, plus an area of 4″ around the front, and two sides for the fence guard.

A smaller room will also permit using a smaller heater, smaller circuit breakers in your panel, and provide more efficient heating.

TIP: The upper and lower benches are the main components you will use to sit and lay down in the sauna. Remember that most sauna users like to stretch out on the upper and lower benches, so try to have the main bench wall 6 feet or longer.

Example: let’s plan a room 6 ft. x 5 ft. The 6 foot wall will allow one upper and one lower bench, each 6 feet long, ideal for laying down. The 5 foot (60″) side wall space will be used up by: a) 20″ wide upper bench, and b) 19″ wide lower bench, leaving 21″ of space for the heater and safety clearance. . “perfect” (60″ – 20″ – 19″ = 21″)

Note: The ceiling height for a sauna can be from 6 1/2 to a maximum 7 feet high. Because heat rises, you want the benefit of the warmer air in the sauna while you are laying on the upper bench, so a ceiling height of 8 or 9 feet is going to defeat this, plus your heater will not function properly.

Heater size: Our room packages come pre-sized with the optimum sauna stove for the given cubic space (assume 7′ ceiling).

Tip: you can install two heaters if you need to service a very large room in your home (i.e. over 450 cubic feet).

Planning the Sauna Room Layout:

Plan the size of your room – saunas can be virtually any size or shape. Hint: If you enjoy lying down in your sauna, allow 6′ in at least one direction.

Plan the door location and direction of its swing. A sauna door MUST swing out of the room, not into the room. Hint: For a better layout of the benches, put your door and heater on a long wall next to each other, if possible.

Plan the location of your heater, preferably near the door wall. Remember that cool air will be naturally drawn from the door, along the floor to the heater where it will be heated and naturally rise to the ceiling.

Plan the bench layout: Our normal bench depth is 20″; height is either 36″ (for the upper bench) or 19″ high (for the lower bench). Custom sizes are welcome.
Hint: You will either sit or lie down in your sauna so include maximum benching as space permits; and note that the upper bench will be the warmer bench.

ABOUT US

Northern Lights Manufactures the finest barrel saunas made from Canadian Western Red Cedar. We export internationally direct to our customers in order to provide the best customer service and the most competitive prices. If you have any question feel free to Contact us.

How to Build Saunas

Sitting in a sauna provides a long list of health benefits, including detoxification, pain relief, improved circulation, and increased cardiovascular health. These benefits have been well known for thousands of years, with various cultures employing them all over the world. These days, however, not everyone has easy access to a sauna. For this reason, more and more people are choosing to build a DIY sauna at home or even at the office.

Building a DIY sauna is much easier and less expensive than you might think. There are some basic materials and structural rules to follow, but apart from these, you’ll have quite a bit of freedom to customize it to your liking. You can build your DIY sauna almost any size you choose, build it indoors or outdoors, or have it be attached or freestanding. You can even build a portable sauna for use in various locations.

First, let’s take a look at some of the basics, starting with a simple explanation of what a sauna is and how it functions.

What Is A Sauna?

How to Build Saunas

While it’s important to note that there are many types of saunas, the main principle remains the same. Basically, a sauna is an enclosed room that is heated to a very high temperature of up to 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit). They typically use dry heat as opposed to so-called “steam rooms” that have both high temperature and high humidity. People generally enter saunas for 10-30 minutes at a time and enjoy multiple health benefits from regular usage.

History

Sauna use dates back thousands of years, originating in Northern Europe. It is most often associated with Finland, where even today nearly every home includes a sauna.

Traditionally, Finnish saunas were heated by a large pile of rocks, which themselves were heated by burning large amounts of wood. Saunas were common throughout Europe during the middle ages, reaching mass popularity during the 20th century in the wake of WWII.

Interestingly, the use of saunas in Korea dates back to the 15th century, and indigenous people all over the world have practiced sauna use in rituals and for the maintenance of spiritual and physical well being.

Types Of Saunas

How to Build Saunas

As we mentioned, there are now many types of saunas to choose from. Choosing which one is right for you will be one of your first decisions in building a DIY sauna. The most common DIY saunas use either a wood-burning stove or an electrical heater.

The wood-burning concept is classic and relatively simple. Wood is burned in an oven or heater, and sauna rocks are placed on top.

Once heated, the rocks will absorb and maintain the heat in the room. Some people splash a bit of water on the rocks to cool them down and provide steam in the room.

An electrically heated sauna simply substitutes an electric heater instead of a wood-burning oven to heat the sauna rocks. If done correctly, this option allows for much finer temperature control and can be quite energy efficient.

Health Benefits

How to Build Saunas

The benefits of regular sauna use are numerous, and it seems we’re discovering new benefits all the time. Beyond simple relaxation and stress relief, this is why so many are choosing to make room for a DIY sauna in their homes.

The most obvious health benefits come from sweating. Sitting in a sauna will help flush toxins and disease out of the body. This can dramatically improve skin health as built-up sebum, bacteria, and dead skin cells are forced out through the pores.

When you sit in a sauna, your heart rate increases and blood vessels expand, much like what happens with low-to-moderate exercise. This increases circulation, which in turn can ease pain, reduce stress levels, and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Materials For Your DIY Sauna

In order to construct your very own sauna, some materials are necessary, of course. The following list will show you exactly what is needed for your sauna.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Below, we have laid out the steps you should follow to build your sauna.

Step 1: The Frame

If you’re converting an existing space such as a closet or bathroom into a sauna, remove any drywall and strip the room down to its structural studs. If you’re constructing the sauna from scratch, identify a space that has easy access to plumbing and electrical needs. Then, frame it with standard 2×4 studs according to your desired size.

You should leave room for three ventilation points: one in the ceiling, a side vent above where the heater will be, and one on the floor. Keep in mind that a smaller room with a lower ceiling will be easier to heat.

Step 2: Floor Layer #1

Your DIY sauna needs a non-permeable floor base, such as cement, vinyl, or ceramic tile. If converting an existing room, this may be as simple as stripping the floor back to its concrete base.

Step 3: Electrical Wiring

Your sauna’s going to need light, and that means it needs electricity. Run any electrical wiring needed to light your sauna. Also, if you’ll be using an electrical heater, run the appropriate gauge electrical wiring.

Step 4: Insulation

Next, fill the cavities between the studs with R-11 insulation for interior walls or R-19 insulation for exterior walls. This will help retain heat and thus lower your operating costs. It will also provide a nice sound barrier, which is critical to your relaxing sauna experience.

Step 5: Foil Vapor Barrier

Once you’ve installed the insulation in the walls and ceiling, cover it with a foil vapor barrier. This will protect the insulation from moisture and ensure that it lasts longer.

Step 6: Cedar Paneling

You may be wondering why saunas are almost always lined with cedar walls and benches. Unlike other woods, cedar resists mold, doesn’t absorb odors, and remains comfortable to the touch, even at high temperatures. It also won’t warp or crack with the constant heating up, cooling off, getting wet, and drying out that saunas undergo. It is also quite beautiful and emits a pleasant sweet forest smell.

Now it’s time to install cedar paneling boards over the ceiling and walls. Start with the ceiling, nailing the boards perpendicular to the joists. If needed, cut a hole for your light box.

For the walls, starting at the bottom, nail the boards horizontally across the wall studs, covering the insulation and foil barrier. It’s best to use tongue-and-groove boards if you can (tongue up and groove down). Install them in rows, checking that they’re level roughly every 4th board. Cut holes for any light or electrical boxes, light switches, etc. Once you reach the ceiling, remember that it need not align perfectly. As long as you’re within a quarter inch, you can cover any gaps with cedar trim at the end.

Wondering how to build a sauna but not sure where to start?

You can build your own traditional sauna from scratch or from a precut kit. It’s actually more cost effective than buying a pre-built sauna and, if you can at least build a frame or get a friend to do it for you, you’ll save thousands over the cost of a full modular sauna.

What are the Sauna Building Steps?

How to Build Saunas

The basic instructions for how to build a sauna are fairly simple. Seeing all the parts and wood panels laid out mind remind you of constructing a child’s dollhouse, although you won’t be able to get out the glue gun for this “little” project. This will still require a few tools, but at least you won’t have to saw anything.

Here are the major points to consider for your project:

If you don’t know how to build a sauna from scratch, you can purchase a pre-cut sauna kit that comes in standard sizes such as 4’x 4’, 4’ x 6’, 8’x 6’, 10’ x 6’, and 12’x 8’. With the money you save you can consider building a larger sauna, say a 6-seater, and really stretch out and enjoy the room!

Once the frame is built, you can set up the pre-cut kit which comes supplied with tongue and groove (T&G) boards, benches, trim, a pre-hung door, light fixture, thermometer, duckboard flooring, and the appropriate size sauna heater.

Another cool advantage when you build your own sauna is that you are not limited to your choice of wood. You can choose from the best soft woods including cedar, spruce, or hemlock.

Cedar saunas are a popular choice for several reasons:

  1. the wood will not heat up like other woods, so the benches will not get hot
  2. it looks beautiful and lasts forever
  3. the wood has a repellant against insects and termites, and
  4. the wood is natural and fragrant. If anyone in your family has sensitivities to cedar then you’ll find that hemlock fir is a perfect alternative.

Plus, if you build your own sauna, you won’t have to be concerned about dealing with high-pressure sales tactics from dealers, or the very expensive delivery costs of a modular unit.

UPDATE: If you are looking for a high quality sauna kit, we have found a great resource. Check out the complete sauna room packages from Jacuzzi В® saunas , with high quality heaters, western cedar planks and everything else you need.

Note: Choose “Sauna Talk” on the contact form or mention us on the phone for special discounts on your DIY sauna kit!

How to Build the Sauna the Right Way

How to Build Saunas

There are very few disadvantages, other than appreciating how building a sauna is best learned with a bit of research and pre-planning.

Trial and error construction techniques are not the way to learn general carpentry skills if the sauna project is to be the first thing you’ve ever built.

Here are just a few things to consider:

  • The sauna needs to be built near a shower, pool or some type of water source. The sauna doesn’t need water itself but part of the sauna experience requires an immediate cool down period as well as showering to wash off the sweat.
  • If you are building your own outdoor sauna, choose a design that blends in with its surroundings. A proper foundation and shingled roof is a must.
  • Even if you can do the carpentry work yourself, in order to build your own sauna you need to comply with local building codes, which may mean hiring an electrician to hook up the heater and lights.

Do a Professional Job

How to Build Saunas

If you are assessing the challenge of how to build your own sauna, deciding how to design one can seem daunting when faced with all the specs and requirements for roughing in and framing the space, the details of wiring, installing the sauna ventilation system, and so on.

Just don’t lose sight of the fact that a sauna is a personal space that you’ll want to be quiet, cozy, attractive and inviting. Make sure you learn everything there is to learn on how to build a sauna before you start the project.

Since a permanent installation adds value to your home, you’ll want to do a professional job.

When I was asked to write an article about the sauna from a more technical point of view I grabbed the opportunity, as being an engineer this is up my alley. Sauna might seem very simple, a room with a heater, but suble things make a great difference. There are some key points to be aware of. Instead of giving detailed building instructions I wish to give you some key points, to find a new perspective on thinking about the sauna, and for you to consider a detail you were not aware of before.

The sauna is an integral part of life in Finland, since thousands of years, and so enormous amount of experience, feeling and knowledge is silent. We Finns are taken to sauna before we learn to walk, then have sauna at least weekly throughout our lives, at home, work, sports, summer cabin, at friends or relatives house, basically everywhere is a sauna. The self-evident is often difficult to quantify.

How to Build Saunas

How to Build Saunas

How to Build Saunas

We at Saunastore sell, design and build saunas for various clients, so the numerous aspects need to be translated into real rules. We cherish the opportunity to do that every day. There are approximately two million saunas in Finland, and nearly each one is different. Also each bather has different preferences. For example a customer might ask for a ”traditional sauna”. However what is now traditional, was modern at some point in the history, also a current trend might become traditional in the future. The sauna develops. So can there be a perfect sauna? Absolutely there can be but not just one, as there is a perfect sauna for each house, location, space, time, person and preference.

Just so to make it clear, taking a sauna is an experience that begins well before you enter the sauna, it begins with a mental transition to being relaxed, shedding all urgency, and then continues until well after the sauna, when cooling down and rehydrating, still enjoying the endorfines. This whole experience is important, no sauna is perfect being just the sauna. We’ll concentrate on the sauna room itself.

So how to quantify the traits that are present in all good saunas? I will give you 5 questions to present to narrow down your selection of various sauna types. Then 5 features that are found in all great saunas. With these points you will succeed in having a great sauna. Read the following parts to find those points.

Written by: eHow Contributor

Written on: July 14, 2020

Saunas are considered good for your health while they afford a relaxing spa experience. That is why an increasing number of “do-it-yourself-ers” are learning how to build a home sauna. Depending on which type of kit you select, you could be enjoying your home sauna in just days.

Read on to learn how to build a home sauna.

Decide on the location. Most rooms or spaces can be converted into a home sauna including a walk-in closet, basement, garage or bathroom. Outdoor saunas can be built near water or close to a swimming pool. When choosing a location, be sure to account for the extra costs to run plumbing and electrical wiring.

  • Saunas are considered good for your health while they afford a relaxing spa experience.
  • Depending on which type of kit you select, you could be enjoying your home sauna in just days.

Adjust accordingly. If you are building a steam sauna, plumbing and drains may be needed. Avoid moisture damage to your house by insulating the room and installing a vapour barrier.

Know the requirements. Learn about any local laws restricting size and location. Build your home sauna at a safe distance from the property line. Foundations that go underneath the frost line are recommended for outdoor saunas. This will help keep your sauna from moving when the earth thaws.

  • If you are building a steam sauna, plumbing and drains may be needed.

Burn wood. Wood burning saunas are considered the most natural means of heating. They also are the most labour-intensive, especially if you chop your own wood. When burning wood, anticipate 60 to 90 minutes before your sauna is heated. Electric installations heat up in about half the time. Ask if local building regulations prohibit a wood stove and if you are covered by your home-owners insurance.

Gas it up. Gas is less expensive than electric, this clean fuel source is easy to maintain. Be sure to test for carbon monoxide.

  • Wood burning saunas are considered the most natural means of heating.
  • They also are the most labour-intensive, especially if you chop your own wood.

Electrify it. Its availability makes electricity a convenient source of heat. These heaters are available in sizes ranging from 2 to 18 kilowatts. When determining the proper size for your home sauna remember for every 1 to 1.5 cubic metres (45 to 50 cubic feet) of space you will need one kilowatt. Small heaters (100-volt) are recommended for small saunas. Twice the voltage is needed for larger sizes.

Install properly. Only a certified electrician can install your heater to ensure proper sizing. An undersized heater can trip out the controls; oversized can produce a searing, burning heat.

  • Its availability makes electricity a convenient source of heat.
  • Small heaters (100-volt) are recommended for small saunas.

Install wiring. Wiring, rated for 90 degrees C (194 degrees F), should be placed on the wall’s cooler side. Next install an aluminium foil vapour barrier and insulation. The barrier will prevent moisture from collecting in the walls.

Insulate properly. Conventional 40 cm (15 inches) wide fiber-glass insulation batts are recommended. An insulation’s “R” rating denotes its capacity for preserving heat. Sauna walls require a rating of 13; ceilings require a rating between 22 and 26.

  • Wiring, rated for 90 degrees C (194 degrees F), should be placed on the wall’s cooler side.
  • Conventional 40 cm (15 inches) wide fiber-glass insulation batts are recommended.

Circulate heat. A system to circulate the air also will spread the heat out evenly and see that the air is odour-free. An intake vent should be located in close proximity to the floor below the heater. You also want to install an exhaust vent on the other side to stimulate air movement, evenly dispense heat and keep oxygen at an acceptable level.

Select a size. Sauna sizes range from 90 by 120 cm (3-by-4 feet) for one person to 3 by 4.25 metres (10-by-14 feet) to accommodate six to eight people. A 2.15 metres (7 foot) ceiling permits the best levels of soft, even heat.

  • A system to circulate the air also will spread the heat out evenly and see that the air is odour-free.
  • A 2.15 metres (7 foot) ceiling permits the best levels of soft, even heat.

Add a door. Standard door size is 60 by 182 cm (24-by-72 inches). This minimizes the amount of heat loss due to opening the door. Sauna doors always open out. Ready-made doors are recommended and can be purchased from most sauna vendors.

Construct seats. Seats should be constructed with 5 by 5 cm (2-by-2 inch), 5 by 7 cm (2-by-3 inch) or 5 by 10 cm (2-by-4-inch) cedar planks. All knots should be cleared and screws fastened underneath. Seats generally set up bunk bed-style, one on top of another. Length should be long enough for a bather to stretch out. Install lower level 45 cm (18 inches) above the floor; upper level 116 cm (46 inches) from the ceiling. Sauna size will dictate how many benches will fit.

Create a Sauna Environment in a Bathroom

How to Build Saunas

How to Build Saunas

Use a Sauna Safely

How to Build Saunas

How to Build Saunas

How to Build Saunas

Clean a Sauna Suit

How to Build Saunas

Install a Steam Shower

How to Build Saunas

Make a Sauna Oil Blend

How to Build Saunas

Intensify the Benefits of a Sauna

How to Build Saunas

Try an Infrared Sauna

How to Build Saunas

Use a Gym Sauna

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​The cost of a pre-made infrared sauna can run you around $900 and up, if you buy one from a sauna manufacturer but you can build your very own infrared sauna at home for far less than that.

​By using some simple items you can find on Amazon, you can have one up and running in a matter of hours and ready to use the same day! Let’s take a closer look at all of the components you’ll need and how they all go together.

How to Build Saunas

What You’ll Need:

  • An Enclosure Of Some Sort
  • ​Infrared Lights/Infrared Heater
  • A Seat/Bench
  • Optional Items:
    * A Thermometer/hygrometer
    * An Additional Heater
    * Radio/Mp3 Player

​Common Questions Answered:

How Much Space Do I Need?
A 3′ x 3′ space is adequate but a 4′ x 4′ or 5′ x 5′ area is more spacious and still small enough to get that “sauna” experience, providing that the ceiling is lowered to about 5 1/2′.

What Kind Of Power Supply Do I Need?
​Most of the time you will only need a 120v outlet (15 amp) to power all of your infrared lights. If you are running a heater at the same time, be sure it is lower wattage to avoid popping breakers. If you live in an area that uses 240v outlets, be sure to get lamps, bulbs that are rated for that instead.

​How Much Will It Cost?
​The basic cost will be dependent on a few things, mainly if you build your frame yourself, or buy one, what type of light/heat setup you use and so on. These will typically cost anywhere between $100 – $250. Not bad considering the cost of a pre-made unit!

What Kind ​Infrared Light Should I Use (Near or Far)?
​Some people swear by near infrared light and others point out that far (fir) infrared light penetrates the skin deeper and has more beneficial effects. I will link to a few articles and let you make up your own mind.

​How Hot Does It Get Inside The Sauna?
​This will depend on how small your sauna is, what materials it is made out of and what type of light/heater you are using. Temperatures can range from 100 degrees F to 190 degrees F. Use a thermometer to see what range you are in.

​How Hot Do The Bulbs Get?
​The bulbs can get extremely hot and you will want to keep a minimum distance of 12″ between the light and any other object (skin, tent material, etc.). Water will also make a violent reaction happen if it comes in contact with a hot infrared bulb, so be careful!

​The Enclosure For Your Infrared Sauna

​The enclosure or shell of the sauna is going to be one of the most important parts to this project. It is up to you, whether you want to build one yourself or buy one (or buy something that will work).

A Pre-Made Enclosure: ​These are very hard to find and I haven’t found any pre-made rooms that are specifically made for saunas so you will have to be resourceful. I have a couple of ideas that you can use to get a head start below.

A Custom Built Enclosure: There are pros and cons to each but basically a pre-made one is going to cost more (in most cases) but will be more comfortable and custom built to suit your needs. You can have custom seating, add accessories if you wanted and so many other options because you can build them into the sauna, however you want!

An Existing Space: The easiest thing to do would be to use an existing room in your house like a closet or similar small room. The only problem with these is that the ceilings are tall which makes the room larger and will not get as hot as it would in a smaller space where the ceilings were lower.